Timothy Egan, liberal New York Times reporter turned very liberal Times online columnist, thinks that Americans will be better off when the old, tired, hypertensive Tea Partiers depart the scene for good and let the lively youth take over saving the world, in "Save Us, Millennials," also featured in Friday's print edition.
When an electorate is red-faced and fist-clenched, when the collective national blood pressure is 160 over 100, when the big issues of the day are mired in tired minds, it's time to turn to the great, renewable resource of any vibrant democracy: the kids.
The millennials, that echo boomer generation born after 1982, have not been heard from of late, ever since proving that they could pull away from their Facebook pages long enough to help elect a president.
We've been led to believe that the grumpy, the cranky and the bitter will drive the midterm elections in the fall. You would never know, with nightly images of jowly Tea Partiers and their inchoate discontents, that people ages 18 to 29 years old made up a larger percentage of the 2008 electorate than those over 65.
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
The movie "Prince of Persia" hit theaters this week. And although it's based on a decades-old video game and set in the sixth century, reviewers across the nation have identified a very contemporary link: The Tea Party.
McClatchy Newspapers's Connie Ogle writes that Alfred Molina, in the role of Amar, "plays a sort of cross between Han Solo with dental-hygiene issues and a Tea Party supporter." According to the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, the character "spews anti-government and tax rhetoric straight out of a tea party rally." The Catholic News Services's John P. McCarthy notes: "Only the anti-government chatter of a mercenary sheik named Amar (Alfred Molina) elicits a few chuckles, since it echoes the contemporary Tea Party movement."
The New York Times's former Middle East Bureau Chief thinks violent revolt is a laudable response to economic woes, and that murder is at least acceptable in pursuit of a far-left agenda. The media so concerned with the potential for violence from conservative groups are completely silent.
"Here’s to the Greeks," wrote Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com. "They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country." Riot, by Hedges's account, is the correct response. That the riots in Greece have so far killed three innocent people doesn't seem to bother him.
Oh but it's not violence borne of a frustration with an unsustainable welfare state that finally reached the inevitable conclusion of skyrocketing public benefits coupled with a fast-shrinking population. No, the riots are "a struggle for liberation" against the oppressive bourgeoisie (capitalists). Hedges is advocating in no vague terms mass political violence. The response from the media: crickets.
Reporter Devin Dwyer’s May 25 ABCNews.com profile of Andrew Young reported the civil rights leader’s derisive remarks against the Tea Party without giving the movement a chance to defend itself.
Despite the liberal activist’s claim that “ethno-centrism runs so deep in America” and that the Tea Party is “motivated by a nativism,” at no point in the piece did Dwyer include a response to the charges.
Instead, Dwyer devoted the rest of the piece to praising the “civil rights legend” for his myriad achievements.
“Young, who has spent a lifetime fighting to change American society for the better, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his decades-long career in public service, which included working as an aide to Martin Luther King Jr., serving as a Democratic congressman from Georgia, and later becoming U.N. ambassador and mayor of Atlanta,” gushed Dwyer.
Media Research Center Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor told “Fox & Friends Sunday” May 23 that attacks on Rand Paul aren’t about skin color, but another kind of race: the 2010 elections.
Paul, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky (and son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul), has come under fire from the media – particularly MSNBC – for comments he made suggesting he would not have supported parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Paul criticized policies including those mandating desegregation in private business because he believes they infringe on Free Speech. He also stated that he believes discrimination and racism are “horrible” and that he doesn’t want government-sponsored discrimination in the public spehere.
Gainor told “Fox & Friends Sunday” that the attacks on Paul were primarily about race – but not skin color. Instead, they’re about the 2010 political race for control of Congress.
“This isn’t about race, this is about the race, the 2010 race, the 2012 race,” Gainor said. “They don’t care if they take down Rand Paul whatsoever. They care if they take down Republicans. They want to make their caricature of Rand Paul, not who he really is but just what they say he is, they want to make that the poster child for the election in 2010 and so they can use it to wreck the GOP – and the media are just buying into it hook, line, and sinker.”
A persistent meme of the liberal mainstream media this election year is that the Tea Party is steeped (pun not intended) in racism and/or neo-Confederate sympathies. Howard Fineman is more than happy to breathe new life in that storyline in yesterday's attack leveled at Kentucky Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Rand Paul in particular and Bluegrass State conservatives in general.
In his May 20 "Rand Paul and D.W. Griffith," blog post, the Newsweek staffer not-too-subtly compared Kentucky's Tea Party contingent of 2010 with the more racially-charged elements he perceived among some anti-busing opponents in the 1970s:
If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.
But there is another Kentucky, one I witnessed as a reporter starting out there when court-ordered busing began in the 1970s. It is a border state with a comparatively tiny black population, and which, as a result, is way behind the times in accommodating itself to the racial realities of modern America.
On Wednesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Dr. Rand Paul appeared as a guest, and, after host Behar brought up examples of people with racist messages who have shown up at some Tea Party events whom the mainstream media have been fond of highlighting as if they were representative of the movement, Dr. Paul recounted that he had never seen such activity at Tea Party events he has attended, and charged that the media are "captivated" by "outlandish behavior"rather than the mainstream message of the movement:
JOY BEHAR: Right, but does it bother you at all, Rand, about seeing those kind of racist images that we`re all seeing that are connected to these Tea Party events?
RAND PAUL: Well, it`s interesting, you know, I`ve seen them on the national media, but I haven`t seen them at any of the rallies I`ve gone to. I`ve probably been to 50, 60 Tea Parties. I`ve been to interview with their inner circle, with their committees. I`ve not met anyone who's racist in the movement. I think when you gather 100,000 people together, there will be a few outliers, and it`s like anything else, I think the media seems to be captivated more by the outlandish behavior as opposed to the 99 percent there that are people who just believe in limited government or believe that deficits are bad.
After Behar did not seem to accept his answer and started to change the subject to Dick Cheney, the exchange continued:
New York Times movie critic (and Michael Moore fan) A. O. Scott is obsessed with the right-leaning politics and anti-French attitudes he glimpses in the new "Robin Hood" movie, starring Russell Crowe. His Arts section review is titled "Rob the Rich? Give to the Poor? Oh, Puh-leeze!"
You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don't tread on him!
So is "Robin Hood" one big medieval tea party? Kind of, though that description makes the movie sound both more fun and more provocative than it actually is. The film's politics, in any case, are more implicit than overt, so that the filmmakers can plausibly deny any particular topical agenda. Which is fair enough: the fight of ragged warriors against sniveling and sadistic tyrants appeals across tastes and ideologies. In our own minds, at least at the movies, we are all embattled underdogs standing up for our rights against a bunch of overprivileged jerks who won't leave us alone.
Scott, always quick to sniff out political themes in unlikely places (he found references to imperialism and the Vietnam War in the science-fiction thriller "Aliens") continues his odd defense of all things French:
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the rescue! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) soars and investors breathe a sign of relief. But where's this $1 trillion in bailout funds for Greece coming from?
"On one thing, Rick - because you started the whole thing where you said, ‘Are you listening, President Obama?' about paying for your neighbor's mortgage," Kernen said. "Are you, could you really tell the American taxpayer, you can connect the dots between them and Greece? I mean are they paying for some lavish benefits in Greece right now?"
Which is more newsworthy: hearsay accounts of racial slurs unsupported by video evidence of the alleged incident, or video of a protester calling for violent revolution against the federal government, the imposition of socialism, and the annexation of the Southwestern states for Mexico?
If you chose the latter, you're probably not a journalist of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" variety. The legacy media has been largely silent on video of Los Angles schoolteacher at a La Raza protest of the recently-passed Arizona immigration law literally calling for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
"There's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border, inside the belly of the beast," Los Angeles high school history teacher Ron Gochez told a frenzied crowd, referring to the 40 million Latin Americans in the United States. He went on to claim that teaching or writing a book "is not part of the movement," and that his followers needed to go a step further -- to literal revolution (video embedded below the fold - h/t Jawa Report).
On the April 22 Larry King Live on CNN, which was rebroadcast on Saturday, magician and comedian Penn Jillette – who is a self-described libertarian – challenged assertions by actress Rachael Harris that the Tea Party movement is motivated by "racism" against President Barack Obama. Jillette: "Well, that's the magic word. Once you say ‘racism,’ the other side loses automatically. And I don't think we have very much evidence that that's what it is. Don't they have to be doing racist things besides you just saying that they're racist?"
Harris cited the racial makeup of the Tea Party movement as evidence of its racist motivation: "No, but they're looking at the number of people that are in, like, the majority of the people that are in the Tea Party," leading Jillette to respond: "So the race that they are makes them racist by definition?"
After Harris and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane joked for a moment that they had gotten together and created the movement, Jillette and Harris continued their debate over whether Tea Party members were motivated by racism:
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
CNN and the Associated Press on Wednesday and Thursday touted how the tea party movement apparently didn't get motivate voters to turn out and "throw out the bums" in Republican primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. Both outlets, however, omitted how senate candidate Rob Portman ran unopposed in his primary race in Ohio.
Anchor Rick Sanchez brought on CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin during a segment 21 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of his Rick's List program on Wednesday. After noting how Democratic Representative David Obey, a "partisan brawler," was retiring, and how "Sarah Palin and tea party influences" might be "running some of these rascals out of office," Sanchez turned to Yellin and asked her about the results: "Those allegedly angry voters could have stormed the polls in droves and thrown out the bums. They would have all been there in big numbers, and they're going to get rid of the incumbents, get rid of the old hacks. So, did that happen?"
Editor's Note: NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President President Brent Bozell released the following statement today regarding the broadcast and cable news media's silence about President Barack Obama's use of a crass sexual slang term to refer to Tea Party members.
If President George W. Bush had slurred the gay-rights movement during his presidency, it would have immediately dominated the news of every single national media outlet. Reporters would have pummeled the Administration and demanded an explanation and apology for the offense, and rightly so. You don’t smear anyone – let alone fellow Americans who elected you to office – regardless of your political differences.
Yet ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN haven’t even lifted an eyebrow since news broke that President Obama used the raunchy ‘teabagger’ slur to demean the hundreds of thousands of Americans who comprise the Tea Party movement. Reporters should be asking questions like:
"Tea party groups battling allegations of racism," reads a May 5 page A3 Washington Post print headline. The online version header softened the word choice a tiny bit, substituting the word "perceptions" in for "allegations."
The underlying poll data which prompted the story tells us more about the Post's prism through which it views the Tea Parties than how the public at large does.
After three paragraphs pounding readers with the meme that "the [Tea Party] movement is struggling to overcome accusations of racism," the Post's Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson quickly dispatched with the fact that most Americans see Tea Parties fueld by distrust of big government and opposition to the Obama/congressional Democratic agenda before highlighting how a minority of poll respondents think race is a motivating factor:
In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most Americans see the movement as motivated by distrust of government, opposition to the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, and broad concern about the economy. But nearly three in 10 see racial prejudice as underlying the tea party.
Of course, in the very next paragraph we learn that:
Listen to the surprise in Luke Russert's voice as he reports that many African-American Republican candidates for congress are seeking support from the Tea Party. After all, says Luke, the Tea Party is a group that "a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
Russert expressed his amazement on MSNBC this morning, discussing a New York Times article that reports that at least 32 black Republicans are running for Congress.
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, brought on two former CIA officials to discuss the latest terror attack, and the MSNBC host agreed with Tyler Drumheller that the most recent attacker was motivated by his house being foreclosed on and also agreed with Robert Baer who feared another attack could lead to "The Tea Party being strengthened" which could lead to "people blaming the White House for a situation it didn't create." Baer also hit Matthews' sweet spot of talking points when he went on to warn that the last successful terror attack "got us into a war in Iraq we didn't need to be in." [audio available here]
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER: But what I'm really afraid, Chris, is the next time one of these guys are going to get through. And what's it gonna do to this country? It's gonna rip it apart. Because people are gonna be looking for quick, immediate answers.
MATTHEWS: How so?
BAER: You know, they're gonna, they're gonna look, you know, crack down on, you know, who knows where it's gonna to end up? You're gonna see the Tea Party being, you know, being strengthened. You're gonna see people blaming the White House for a situation it didn't create.
BAER: It could affect the, you know it could affect the United States for a long time. Look, it got us into a war in Iraq we didn't need to be in...
MATTHEWS: Yeah well I agree.
The following exchange was aired on the May 4 edition of Hardball:
About 45 minutes ago, Red State's Caleb Howe reported that a package filled with a white powder was sent to the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer, picture right in a file photo, has become a controversial figure since she signed into law a bill giving state authorities more power to determine an individual's immigration status.
Andrew Staubitz, the chief of Phoenix's Capital Police Department, told Howe that a state employee opened an envelope addressed to the Governor and found a "powdery white substance." The first floor of the Arizona Capitol was closed for about half an hour. Paramedics were called, but the employee required no further medical assistance. The powder was sent to a lab where it is undergoing tests.
Will the media report this event as vehemently as they have other instances of purported political violence? Will they extrapolate a larger threat posed by opponents of the new immigration law as they repeatedly have with the Tea Party movement (even though it has been completely devoid of violence)? Or will they apply the journalistic scrutiny to this incident that they failed to apply to the claims of members of Congressional Black Caucus who said protesters had shouted racial slurs at them? We will see.
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes claimed in Tuesday's Obama-pitying "For Obama, A Nonstop Juggling Act" that his "supporters" call him a pragmatist. So does that make Times reporters Obama supporters as well? And is the Tea Party really "far right"?
By his own reckoning, Mr. Obama has always been hard to peg ideologically. His Republican opponents charge that he is masking a left-wing agenda in centrist-sounding words.
His supporters, including those who work for him, say he is a pragmatist whose instincts are genuinely centrist, both as a matter of politics and style.
The Times also constantly sells its readers on the idea that the big-spending, socially liberal Obama is some kind of moderate "pragmatist."
A number of media outlets continue to hold water for the weekend's pro-illegal immigration protesters, as NewsBusters has reported, painting violence at many rallies as somehow unexpected or not representative of the larger movement.
While that characterization may be fair, the benefit of the doubt afforded to immigration protesters by some of the nation's leading media outlets stands in stark contrast to the coverage of Tea Party protests by those same outlets. Tea Parties rallies are guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the mainstream media.
"[W]hat started as a peaceful immigrants' rights march in downtown Santa Cruz turned violent, requiring police to call other agencies for help, authorities said," read the lede of an Associated Press report. Since no Tea Party rally has turned violent, we can't make a direct comparison. But it is safe to assume that a Tea Party protest looking like the one at top right -- and involving numerous incidents of vandalism and other crimes -- would be characterized simply as "violent" or some other ugly adjective.
Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times Book Review” and “Week in Review,” and the author of the book, “The Death of Conservatism,” went on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC talk show Monday night to discuss her being featured in a fundraising letter from the right-wing John Birch Society. But the friendly chat soon veered off into a comparison of the nationalist John Birch Society to the Tea Party movement, with Tanenhaus confidently proclaiming “there are no serious ideas left on the right.”
Tanenhaus is pretty assured, for a man who published a book called “The Death of Conservatism” months before a conservative resurgence. At least he didn't refer to Tea Party protesters as “tea baggers,” as he did in an exchange on Slate last October. (Watch a clip of Tanenhaus chatting with Maddow at Times Watch).
SAM TANENHAUS: But there were many on the right who actually supported [John Birch Society president Robert] Welch on the principle we're seeing in action today -- no enemies on the right. If they can be useful, you keep them in the tent. Then, by the mid-'60s, as you said before, they'd gotten so far off the grid that Buckley, a guy who kind of trafficked in intellectual circles, particularly in New York, and had a lot of smart liberal friends, like Murray Kempton and John Kenneth Galbraith, got a little embarrassed by them. At the same time, though, as you said, they were forceful. They were useful. In the Goldwater campaign in ‘64, they were the foot soldiers. In some sense, they're the precursor to the tea partiers we're seeing now, so the right is always nervous about evicting people like that.
One week after mocking comedian and Tea Party activist Jim Labriola as "no brain trust," HLN host Joy Behar brought him onto the Joy Behar Show Monday to discuss his involvement in the movement. Behar was surprised by his contention that he had seen no racism or anger at the events he has attended, except from anti-Tea Party protesters, with the HLN host responding: "No, that doesn`t make sense because we`ve seen the footage of them showing things, woman walking with a monkey, another one having Obama in white face."
After Behar, who admitted last week "I'm scared to go" to Tea Party events, asked if Labriola had seen any African-Americans at events he attended, he asserted that half the people he appeared with on stage were minorities, and criticized the media for ignoring black and Hispanic Tea Party members:"I noticed the news never showed any of the black speakers or the Mexican kid and all that."
The comedian and alum of the TV series Home Improvement had earlier commented on the absence of racism or anger by Tea Party participants at events:
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, substitute host Laura Ingraham and FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg discussed the mainstream media's double standard in handwringing over whether peaceful Tea Party protesters will inspire violence while actual violence perpetrated at left-leaning rallies is ignored. After playing a clip of police officers in Phoenix being hit by bottles thrown by protesters who oppose Arizona's planned crackdown on illegal immigration, Ingraham set up Goldberg: "Why are we surprised when we have some thugs out there in Phoenix over the weekend causing trouble? And we don't know who is responsible, but there was thuggish behavior. Meanwhile, still hearing about the Tea Parties that were largely peaceful, of course."
Back during the Bush administration Keith Olbermann made sure to insist that "we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty" and that "conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law". But that standard seems to have fallen by the wayside now that the dissenters are conservative Tea Partiers.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, reporter Mike Von Fremd downplayed the violence of protesters against Arizona's new immigration law. He spun, "Riot police were called in to try and control demonstrators protesting outside the capital. Most were peaceful. A handful threw bottles at police and were arrested." Yet, ABC derided March's Tea Party rallies as "very ugly," despite the fact that there were no arrests.
In contrast, on March 20, World News host David Muir scolded, "Protesters against the [health care] plan gathered on the streets of the capital where late today we learned words shouted turned very ugly, reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one protester actually spitting on a Congressman." Continuing to fret over those opposed the bill, he complained, "Late word from Washington tonight about just how ugly the crowds gathered outside the Longworth office building have become."
Last night, "back by popular demand," Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity interviewed Brent Bozell in a segment focused on media bias entitled "Media Mash."
Hannity led off with the April 15 video of TEA Partier Darryl Postell being interviewed by NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, who asked him if, as a black man, he felt uncomfortable at the rally. "No, no, these are my people, Americans," replied Postell.
"Let's examine the question a little more deeply, your reaction to that," Hannity asked.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
So you do your part and pay your taxes to the federal government. However, you feel you pay too much and you don't like how that same government uses that money. Do you have the right to petition and protest that government?
If it's on federal land that your tax dollars paid for, then your protest is hypocritical nonsense, according to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. To her, the tea partiers, who protested on the government land of the National Mall, are hypocrites. Worse, they're getting unwarranted media coverage.
"In the case of the tea partiers, though, mainstream media coverage has been willing to almost assume that they're making sense, even in the face of evidence to the contrary," Maddow said on her April 21 program. "Because the idea of being in favor of smaller government, the idea that government is inherently wasteful and incompetent and should be shrunk, because that idea has shifted from a conservative movement talking point 30 years ago to centrist Beltway common wisdom today, sometimes we don't recognize the hypocrisy when it's right in our face. The conservative movement won the framing fight. It doesn't sound crazy anymore to rail against the federal government while standing in a national park until you really think about it."